The Sun is rising on the first day of the new year, 2022. Paul is one of the early risers among the crow community in the Tali Park. He wakes up and flies to his friend Peter’s nest to greet him with a rhyme.
PAUL: Hello, Peter,
Mr. Late Riser,
Crow name spoiler,
Get up and see the new dawn,
Good moments don’t last long.
(Peter takes a moment to respond to his friend’s call – it is a little earlier than his usual waking time in the morning.)
PETER: What’s happened? Sounding so poetic today! Let me have a drink. I’ll soon be back.
(Peter flies to the lake inside the park, has a drink and quickly comes back.)
PETER: So what rhyme were you singing?
PAUL: Idiot, this is the new year! Year 2022! See the wonderful sunrise in the new dawn! Ah, see the crimson hue in the sky! Is it a time to sleep?
PETER: Oh, I see. That’s why you’re so excited!
PAUL: Naturally so.
PETER: But is the sunrise different from any other day? Is the crimson hue brighter than usual?
PAUL: Oh, you’re being cynical as always. This is the beginning of the new year. You have to be optimistic.
PETER: What optimism? Is there fresh air to breathe? Is the food safe to eat? Will the new year be any different for us – the crows? Will the cyclones stop coming? Will humans love rather than hate us?
PAUL: Oh, Peter, will there ever be a moment in life without any problems? You have to live with them. And when it’s time to celebrate, you celebrate, or else life will be boring!
PETER: Yes, they were celebrating it with song and dance yesterday night. I was watching them from the top. Then they started bursting firecrackers. I choked and almost died. Is that the way to celebrate, tell me? The air is already polluted and now you make it dirtier.
PAUL: Oh, that’s pathetic. Are you fine?
PETER: Is the food safe to eat? They’re using pesticides to kill insects, rats and using chemicals for all purposes. They’re poisoning us slowly and silently. Vultures have almost become extinct! We don’t know when it’ll be our turn to die.
PAUL: By polluting the environment, they’re, in fact, digging their own graves. They live in this world for many more years than us and therefore should be more concerned. But now it seems they’re realizing what harm they’ve caused to life on Earth.
PETER: We’ve the right to live in this world. We don’t need their mercy.
PAUL: You’re right. The world is ours – and literally so. They live in small compartments while the entire sky belongs to us. Why don’t we take advantage of it and move elsewhere?
PETER: That won’t save you from cyclones, you know. My nest was blown away twice. Thank God, I was not and am alive to tell you my story. I sheltered under the roof of a building and saved my life.
PAUL: That’s worrisome. But that’s a natural phenomenon.
PETER: Natural phenomenon? You know so many things but not this or are just pretending not to know. It’s again pollution that’s warming the ocean. Thus, more and more cyclones are happening.
PAUL: Ok, Peter, no point arguing on this. I can’t force you to celebrate. If you don’t want to celebrate, so be it. But be thankful to God, we’re alive despite all this. At least, be grateful to the mother Earth. She’s completed another journey around the Sun. At least say cheers to her!
PETER: OK, cheers to mother Earth! And I’m done with my lecture. Tell me what you want me to do.
PAUL: Papaya? Are you interested?
PETER: Yes, very much.
PAUL: Can you see the spire of a temple above the trees there? There’s a clump of papaya near the temple. It’s a little far from here. But it’s worth the effort.
PETER: Oh, I know that very well.
PAUL: But there’re scarecrows.
PETER: Oh, they’re quite funny. I love them and find it amusing that those fellows invented this stupid thing to keep us away. What made them think that we will see those zombies and fly away, frightened?
PAUL: OK then, let’s go and meet them.
Peter and Paul fly to the clump of papaya where the ripe fruits are hanging tantalizingly from the crowns of the plants. They peck holes in the papayas and start feasting on their soft red pulp. They quickly devour two or three fruits to celebrate the new year as the scarecrows stand overseeing the plunder happening under their noses.